Mulayam’s safari project may face Modi hurdle
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Mulayam Singh Yadav's Lion Safari project, which was halted during the Mayawati regime, is set to face a fresh hurdle. While the project involves relocation of Asiatic lions from Gir National Park to Mulayam's home district Etawah, Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi is learnt to be stiffly opposed to relocation of Gir lions to other states.
As of now, the project is with the Union Ministry of Forests and Environment for clearance.
A top official in UP's Forest Department said, "UP has not approached Gujarat till now. But once the project starts, the request (for relocation of lions) will be sent to Gujarat."
Recently, the Gujarat State Wildlife Board, headed by Narendra Modi, rejected a proposal to relocate Asiatic Gir lions to the Kuno-Palpur Park in Madhya Pradesh.
The people of Gujarat's Saurashtra region are also opposing the relocation of Gir lions.
According to Lion Census of 2010, the Gir National Park has a total of 411 lions, of which 97 are males, 162 females and 152 cubs.
Gujarat's Forest and Environment Minister Mangubhai Chhaganbhai Patel refused to comment on the issue while Gujarat Principal Chief Conservator of Forests S K Goyal said if they receive any such request from UP, it will be considered on the basis of its merit.
The work on the Lion Safari in the Fisher Forests near Etawah-Gwalior Highway was started in 2005 when Yadav was chief minister. The project could see no progress after the BSP government's formation in 2007. Now, Akhilesh Yadav-led SP government has fast-tracked the project.
The safari will be spread on about 50 hectares in the Chambal region of the state.